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Off-topic: I can't stop listening to Dolly Parton's "Jolene" at 33 RPM

Ok, so I kind of love Dolly Parton, and “Jolene” is probably my favorite song of hers, though I’ve never quite believed the story told in the lyrics, because how could any woman, even the mighty Jolene, steal a man from DOLLY FUCKING PARTON?

Anyway, it turns out if you play the 45 rpm single version of the song at 33 rpm it becomes … another song entirely. But, amazingly, it works. It’s actually sort of great. The video above isn’t new, but it’s new to me, and I can’t stop listening to it, so I thought I’d inflict it all on you.

Here’s Dolly singing the song at the correct speed.

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Lea
Lea
8 years ago

Nor should you. Her voice singing that song is eerily beautiful.

Cate B
Cate B
8 years ago

I love Jolene, but you’re right, I don’t believe the story either. I’m pretty sure it’s Dolly who’s in love with Jolene. But she fears for the destruction of her relationship/identity, so can only express her feelings thought this melancholy, longing song, with it’s lingering tender descriptions of Jolene’s beauty. Dolly/Jolene 4ever.

samantha
samantha
8 years ago

I am totally impressed. Her pitch accuracy is incredible, which is why there is little or no warbling when played at lower speed. Actually, at the lower speed the song has a haunting quality to it.

I can hear this as the lament of a man fearing the loss of his gay lover. Thanks for posting this, David.

emma
emma
8 years ago

It sounds more convincing — more plaintive and desperately pleading — at the lower speed. Dolly’s normal tempo is somewhat frantic, which also has its appeal, but conveys a different emotional tone.

marinerachel
marinerachel
8 years ago

Dolly’s a story teller. I’m not worried about whether it’s fiction or not.

Hands down, my favourite Dolly song though. Sad bit – I was introduced to it by Roger from American Dad. :/

Bina
8 years ago

“Woman steals other woman’s man for fun” is an old, old trope in country music — goes right along with “lyin’ cheatin’ bastard up and left me with kids to feed”. It was around long before “Jolene”, so this song is just true to type. That’s the only story I can see, really.

(But Kenny Rogers’ “Lucille”…now there’s a switch. It’s her leaving him with the kids. Threw me for a loop the first time I heard it.)

Robert
Robert
8 years ago

Back in college, a friend played the 45 of Diana Ross’s “Muscle” at 33 1/3. Sounded like a man singing. We were entertained.

star cola
8 years ago

I love this song, and I love Dolly. She sounds like Tracy Chapman here too, which is double win.

Bina
8 years ago

And if you play 33 1/3 or 45 rpm records at 78, everything sounds like Alvin and the Chipmunks.

jenphalian
jenphalian
8 years ago

I can’t stop staring at the guy’s suit in the 1973 video. Is that a misandry suit? What are the things appliqued to it? *stares*

dustydeste
dustydeste
8 years ago

After being dragged to Dollywood a couple of times by my grandparents, I have to say I pretty much loathe Dolly Parton’s voice. That said, the slowed-down version is surprisingly good listening!

Kevin Kehres
8 years ago

That guy is Porter Wagoner. The two of them had a “complex” relationship. And that was pretty much the style for Country and Western artists back then. Very weird, but there you go.

Dolly Parton is an incredible talent. Writer of more than 3000 songs(!), amazing singer, accomplished in so many ways. And she could wear a pouffy wig with the best of them.

I agree, playing her at 33 is captivating.

Polliwog
Polliwog
8 years ago

Dolly’s actually said in interviews that while the name comes from a pretty little girl she met, the idea for the story came from the fact that one of the tellers at her bank at the time was an attractive redhead who liked to flirt with her husband.

arubakeru
8 years ago

That was beautiful David, thank you.

pineapplecookies
pineapplecookies
8 years ago

Am I annoying for not really liking any other version of this song but Parton’s original?

Oolon (@oolon)
8 years ago

Sounds more like the Sisters of Mercy cover at 33rpm. Although a bit better a voice than Eldritch 🙂

contrapangloss
8 years ago

Wow. She sounds good at 33! She’s an amazing tenor! Well, really a spralto at normal speeds, but that TENOR!

New love.

Must go find more random lady voices, slow them down into tenors, and bask.

I wonder if a good tenor sped up would sound as much like a alto as a soprano sounds like a tenor, slowed down?

Off to INVESTIGATE! Whohoo!

contrapangloss
8 years ago

Oh, pineapple cookies, you aren’t annoying. Just different preferences!

dustydeste
dustydeste
8 years ago

@pineapplecookies – Certainly no more annoying than I am for not liking Parton! It’s not like either of us are saying the other doesn’t qualify as a human person because of their preferences. I wouldn’t even say that Dolly Parton is objectively awful; I just have some bad associations with her music and find her voice highly irritating, so it’s not for me.

katz
8 years ago

And if you play 33 1/3 or 45 rpm records at 78, everything sounds like Alvin and the Chipmunks.

I’m pretty sure that’s how Alvin and the Chipmunks was made.

Fibinachi
8 years ago

@dustydeste:

Actually, my new mis-tunic screed will tell you about the evils of musicandry and conclusively prove that your ears are just genetically inferior and unable to properly parse the righteous wondrous joywonder of Dolly Parton, who is, as close to such a thing is possible, objectively awesome.

Your disparagement of her music is mis-tunery! It’s a direct case of pervserse tonal antagonism. I bet you secretively call for musicide of all Dolly Parton’s pieces!

pineapplecookies
pineapplecookies
8 years ago

@dustydeste I wrote my comment before seeing your comment, I was not referring to you 🙂 I was referring to the versions by Miley Cyrus, White stripes and other artists of the same song. I don’t like them as much.

pineapplecookies
pineapplecookies
8 years ago

it does sound nice at 33 rpm. I think the thing with the other artists is not the voice, but something about the way its played (?) or something (?). I should understand more about musical stuff than I do. Either way, I prefer this her original version, even at 33rpm.

misery
misery
8 years ago

Stop visiting reddit, David.

Anyway, this sounds horrid and I don’t get the obsession people have with this.

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